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Boeuf /Beef Bourguignon Recipe

A traditional beef casserole from the Burgundy area of France. Ingredients include red wine, carrots, button onions, lardons and herbs. But the meat (which in days gone by would have been in a piece, but is now generally cubed) must be marinated before any cooking takes place, for the dish to have real character.

Few dishes, apart from Coq au Vin have been so abused. The dish is much better if the meat is marinated in the wine for a few hours (or overnight if possible), and like all dishes of this type will be even better the next day, if kept in a cool place.

The dish is an ideal candidate for a Slow Cooker. Depending on your cooker settings, complete cooking could be adjusted to be within a 4 to 8 hour timeslot - as cooking evaporation is almost nil when 'slow cooking' a little extra thickening of the sauce (perhaps with a little dissolved cornflour) might be needed near the end.

For a special occasion, you could add a Sherry glass of brandy to the dish towards the end of its cooking time.

Ingredients

For 4 generous helpings:

2 lbs/900gr Stewing Beef - Shin is best if you can find it (as its gelatinous vein produces a delicious sauce), but Chuck might be more available; cut into 2 ins/5cm cubes
2 tablespoons (30ml) Flour - seasoned with salt and freshly-ground black pepper
4 oz/120gr Smoked Streaky Bacon, with any rind removed and cut into 2 ins/5cm lengths
2 tablespoons (30ml) Olive Oil
1 oz/30mg Butter
2 medium or 1 big Onion, peeled and chopped
2 medium cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 Bouquet Garni, including a Bay Leaf (or better still, but not traditional, a teaspoon of 'good' dried Herbes de Provence, the best comes from www.gourmetherbs.co.uk (http://www.gourmetherbs.co.uk/) )
1 bottle of heavy Red Wine
An equal quantity of Beef Stock - if made with a cube, use no more than one, or it will be overpowering
8-10 small Button Onions or Shallots, peeled but left whole - and if possible their little roots intact (these will help hold the onions together)
2oz/60gr Butter
8 oz/225gr Flat Mushrooms, cut into quarters, and their stalks left on
1 tablespoon (15ml) Tomato Purée
Sherry glass of Brandy (optional)
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper to taste
Equipment needed: a casserole able to hold all the contents, with a close-fitting fit.

Method

Prep:Marinate the meat with the bouquet garni in a stainless steel casserole or glass dish, for a few hours - or overnight if possible.

Then the next day -

1. In a heavy frying pan or heat-proof casserole, gently 'sweat' the bacon pieces with the onions in half the first batch of butter an olive oil - after 5 minutes, add the chopped garlic, fry gently for a further minute then remove the onion mixture to a side dish, leaving as much oil behind a possible. Remove the pan from the heat.

2. Drain the marinating meat and reserve the wine and herbs. Roll the cubed pieces of meat in the seasoned flour.

3. Reheat the pan to a medium heat, adding the remaining first batch of olive oil and butter - increase the heat to medium.

4. When the oil mixture is hot, fry the seasoned and floured meat (in batches if necessary), until it's sealed on all sides - remove pieces as this happens and set them aside in dish.

5. Using half the second batch of butter, fry the button onions/shallots until they're golden - but not brown. Remove them, and add the mushroom quarters plus the remaining butter - seal these lightly on both sides, so they have absorbed the butter, then add them to the button onions/shallots. Set the bacon, button onions/shallots & mushrooms aside for the last stage of cooking.

Final Cooking: Put all the ingredients (except the bacon, onions and mushrooms, which you have set aside) together in a casserole, with a close-fitting-lid, but not forgetting the herbs, and mix well together. Only add a little salt and pepper, as this can be adjusted at the end.

6. Cook either as slowly as possible over a low heat on top of the stove - or in the oven at 300F/150C/Gas 2 for 2 hours, then remove and add the onions, mushrooms and bacon and cook for a further 30 minutes, mixing them well in.

7. Remove from the oven, check there's enough seasoning, then serve with mash and a green veg - or even noodles such as tagliatelle.

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boeuf bourguignon
boeuf bourguignon